Production Designer | Fashion Director | Storyteller
‘Be aware of what’s happening on the ground…. crime stems from socio-economic difficulties…. It is easy to judge the actions but how about we focus on the root of the issue.”
~ Aché Abrahams, answering the final question at the Miss World Trinidad and Tobago Competition.
The crowd response spoke volumes, one could hear the unanimity in the applause, no longer were there isolated pocket cheers from the audience. There was an overwhelming consensus in the Lord Kitchener Auditorium at NAPA. When I heard the response backstage, I knew she nailed it!
Aché Abrahams was Miss Maracas Valley, now she is Miss World Trinidad and Tobago. She continues her journey of self-discovery taking with her that piece of uniqueness that she purports, singles her out - that ubiquitous “subconscious awareness”. She effuses that this attribute linked to her inherent spirituality centres her in the most daunting of times.
Aché braved choppy waters
Yes, she is aware of her essence, an indefatigable desire to stand out boldly and own up to her own earlier misgivings, teenage bullying and pangs of self-doubt. She let her searing intuitive sensibility guide her to make choices, as she did that unforgettable morning of the Miss World Trinidad and Tobago screening.
She knew that her accumulated life experiences had positioned her for that choice, to brave the waters and venture into the uncharted world of pageantry. It had become the order of the day for her, by this time - walk into rooms and claim your sense of belonging and all like-minded individuals will converge - seemed to have become her aspirational credo. And so said, so done! For, the incredible sorority that followed has left an indelible mark on her roving psyche. She found a space of balance which keeps her smiling, inexorably.
The pivot, the metamorphosis
Aché shared, “I was struggling with my mental health when I was a teenager, as a lot of us are, and I was silent about it. I think a lot of us have experienced feelings of self-doubt, insecurity and issues with self-esteem but it was a very tough point in my life. The problem with these situations is you aren’t able to see the signs from the outside looking in and I started being bullied around this time as well. I felt misunderstood but thankfully, I was able to learn how to cope with all of these feelings and emotions. I always say this was my lotus flower moment in my life because it was through this darkness that I was able to really blossom into the woman I am today. I’m proud to say that I’m a woman of strength, confidence and empathy because of these experiences.”
She feels a new liberation, coming with a sense of responsibility and blessing. She exudes new-found confidence as she seems to honour the meaning of her name, Aché- so shall it be. She knows that there is power in a name and that her destiny to make a difference is being fulfilled, incrementally, with the passing of each day. She likens herself to a caterpillar who has metamorphosed into a butterfly, on the other end of the continuum, now that she has won the pageant.
Her mother, award-winning animation pioneer, Camille Selvon-Abrahams had a prescience in shaping her identity with this mighty name. Aché is committed to living life to its fullest potential. Realising her potential is manifest in her ebullient smile, she channels her intentionality to give hope and motivate others to design goals and achieve access. She sees the inspiration in the eyes of young girls, looking at her, more so, in this last week, and has become aware that her role as a titleholder is to continue to ignite possibilities for the future through her actions today.
The Pageant, a stage for Empowerment
The process at the pageant was way more than she had anticipated. It was extremely intense - a lot of grit, tears, sweat, passion, identity-shaping and above all the sisterhood. The crowning glory of the experience is the smiles, the laughter and the fun with her sister delegates. It was not a competition in the rivalling sense of the word, it was an empowering space where they rallied for each other and witnessed each other find space to tell stories and empower others.
The greatest empowerment, she states, is to share space with other change-agent hopefuls, all imbued with a vision for the world to become a better place, fuelled with empathy and love serving the community through meaningful cooperation and communication.
She reveals that the franchise holder, Charu Lochan Dass, created that space for 17 young women to commune and connect. For it is indeed empowering to share collectively by enabling the less fortunate and the voiceless to claim self-assurance. For it is only through proactive actions that limiting perceptions can be changed. She sees the delegates as activists purposed to design a better tomorrow.
Beauty with a Purpose – Creating Safe Spaces
“My main goal for my project, the Safe Space, is to destigmatise the concept of mental health. It’s still an issue that we face worldwide, and the pandemic has impacted us in more ways than we may even notice. There are also a lot of people suffering in silence and I hope that we can be listening ears and helping hands in our society and look out for each other. There are many goals I wish to achieve but for now, but destigmatising is the first priority,” our compassionate Beauty Queen shared.
Aché is cognisant of her impact, as a role model, for she sees in the optimistic eyes of little girls, the hopes and dreams of their own futures. She is now more compelled than ever to represent, at best, to signal a fighting chance to realise these ambitions and aspirations. She is quite conscious of what her smile can mean and is ready to take up the mantle for these young girls to continue dreaming. Her smile is the end product of “victories that were managed in privacies”, and regards women’s empowerment as an indigenous and inimitable gift of leading by example.
Mastering the moment
When JW posed that final question, Aché confesses that she was startled and wondered, ‘what did I get myself into? But then, it hit her, that this was the challenge that she did, in fact, sign up for! So she beamed that winning smile and remembered my firm prognostication in the face of feeling cornered – “Smile and the world smiles with you!” But most of all, ‘never say what you think someone would wish to hear; never compete for a better answer than another delegate; and above all, stay true to self and speak from the heart, share viscerally from the soul and let your biographical story guide your transfer of value, with conviction. And indeed, she followed through and flowed, ineffably.
This is the true test of the prospect of ambassadorial duty, of mastering the moment and thinking on your feet. Aché Abrahams passed with flying colours and smiled her way to the crown.